It goes without saying that there are hundreds (maybe even, thousands) of meetings you’re likely to attend within your lifetime. Some are amazing, some you may fall asleep in. How do we work on ensuring meetings are productive and a good use of our time? A meeting agenda.
The meeting agenda sets the stage for everyone involved to understand what will happen at the meeting, who it concerns, when it will be occurring and why. But, not all meeting agendas are created equal.
It all comes down to what kind of meeting you are holding. Is it an informal meeting to gather with staff to discuss a project? Or is it a formal meeting?
Once you have established what kind of meeting you are holding, you can now take a look at creating a great meeting agenda. What’s even better is that you can create a template to use again and again.
Creating a basic meeting agenda template
If you’re running an informal meeting, start with some of the basics to get your agenda created. One of the first things you need to consider is why you’re having a meeting in the first place. Why is it necessary to have a meeting when an email could do? You can even ask your colleagues about their thoughts on the upcoming meeting and if there’s something, in particular, they’d like to discuss. Of course, you need to check on their availability to attend the meeting. Once you have this information and a solid reason to hold a meeting, use this within your agenda to inform people of why they should be attending.
What are your meeting objectives?
Now that you know why you want to hold a meeting, you should have a clear goal in mind for the completion of the meeting. What do you hope you and your team will achieve by the end of the session? Having a defined purpose can ensure the meeting is productive and everyone is on the same page as to what the outcome should be by the end of it. Remember, you can have more than one ultimate goal to your meeting. Your goal may be to share results from the previous quarter, as well as set goals for the next period.
Where is the meeting being held?
As we have mentioned before, online meetings should be prepared just like a meeting held face-to-face. Whether it’s online or in the office, everyone attending the meeting should know exactly where the meeting is being held. Your agenda should give clear instructions on the meeting location or dial-in/website login information. There’s nothing worse than starting a meeting and people slowly trickle in as the meeting goes on because they got lost or were in the wrong room. It’s also difficult when you have team members who cannot access an online meeting due to technical errors. By providing all of this information ahead of time in the agenda, it gives your colleagues a good opportunity to get their equipment ready for an online meeting or ensure they know which room to head to on the day.
Only include important items
If there is an issue or concern to address at a meeting that only concerns one or two people, remove it from your agenda. That issue can be addressed outside of a meeting scenario as it doesn’t concern the whole group. To ensure your meeting is as productive as possible, you need to make sure everything addressed is important and worthy of your time. Narrow your list of concerns to only include what is most important.
Create a meeting agenda template
For an informal meeting, your meeting agenda template could look something like this:
Topic: (What the meeting is about)
Why: (Why do you need to discuss the above)
Goals: (What you hope to achieve in the meeting)
Location: (Where the meeting is held or link to online conference)
Questions/Concerns: (What may need to be discussed in order to reach goals)
Feel free to copy the above for your own informal meeting needs. An example of what this may look like in an email can be seen below.
Remember to keep to the agenda, stay on topic and ensure only the most important factors are included in your agenda. Be sure to provide this to your attendees a few days before the meeting is to be held to give them sufficient time to understand what is required of them before the meeting.